ADELAIDE United's underwhelming start to the new season has continued after a goalless home draw against Newcastle Jets at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.
After a lacklustre opening, the Reds started to get on top early in the second half, before Nigel Boogaard's decision to backchat the referee on 65 minutes - after having already receiving a yellow card earlier - saw him exit to the showers and create several hairy moments for United.
Despite being down to 10 men, Adelaide noticeably raised their collective intensity and had the crowd in raptures in the 88th minute when Fabian Barbiero - subbed on in the 83rd minute - slotted one past Newcastle goalkeeper Matthew Nash, after receiving the deflection from Bruce Djite.
But the flag was immediately up for off-side and the stalemate would ensue.
The visitors clearly settled first and kept United's back third under pressure in the early goings, veteran Korean left back Sung-Hwan Byun providing plenty of run and Brazilian Tiago Calvano looking dangerous, getting plenty of the ball in attack.
Despite applying the screws early and clearly coming to play, Newcastle sprayed numerous opportunities in the first half, wasting their enormous possession advantage.
Adelaide belatedly sprung to life in the 21st minute when Bruce Djite weaved past Nikolai Topor Stanley and found himself one-out with Nash down the middle, but a sublime diving tackle from Byun prevented the Adelaide striker from busting the deadlock.
Dour and blue-collar best described the first-half arm wrestle, until the 41st minute when New Zealander Jeremy Brockie found an opening and launched a stinging shot from inside the 18-yard box.
United custodian Eugene Galekovic was unable to pouch the pill cleanly, but did enough with the save for Adelaide to clear safely and ensure the two sides would enter the sheds at half-time on even terms.
Iain Ramsay came agonisingly close to breaking the shackles in the 51st minute when the dangerous Djite found him with a nice ball.
Ramsay got past Nash and looked a stone-cold certainty, but his shot from close range to an empty goal was somehow blocked by Tarek Elrich, before Ramsay's follow-up chance failed to find the mark.
However, the attack was a sure sign that after their slow start, United were beginning to get right on top.
But the mood of the contest changed dramatically when Boogaard - who copped a yellow card in the 33rd minute for his foul on Ruben Zadkovich - earned his second yellow for mouthing of at the referee after a handball.
The Jets almost made Adelaide pay immediately when experienced midfielder Kasey Wehrman bent one nicely, albeit fractionally wide of the target, with a diving Galekovic just getting a fingernail on it.
Striker Labinot Haliti, who was substituted on for Francis Jeffers in the 73rd minute, nodded one wide eight minutes later, as the play was largely contained to Adelaide's back third, Newcastle desperately surging forward time and again against the undermanned but gallant Reds, who never stopped trying.
Barbiero's disallowed goal was followed by a superb strike from Djite deep into injury time, which was wonderfully saved by Nash - playing in place of the concussed Ben Kennedy - who kept the Jets on their toes right until the final whistle.
Adelaide United 0
Newcastle Jets 0
Crowd: 8403 at Hindmarsh Stadium